Fast National ratings for Friday, February 4, 2011.
The first Friday night of the February Sweeps period generated a surprisingly competitive ratings race. “Dateline”-aided NBC and CBS, fueled by an OK Friday premiere for “The Defenders,” battled for the top spot overall. Meanwhile, despite a Week 3 fall for “Fringe,” FOX was still in the race for the desirable young adult viewers.
Among adults 18-49, FOX, NBC and CBS all posted a 1.7 rating, tying for the lead in the all-important demographic. ABC was fourth with a 1.2 rating and The CW was close behind with a 1.0 rating.
Overall, though, CBS averaged an estimated 9.18 million viewers to go with a 5.5 rating/9 share. NBC was a close second with a 5.3/9 and 8.18 million viewers. ABC was a distant third with a 3.2/6 and 4.98 million viewers, beating FOX’s 2.4/4 and 4.15 million viewers. The CW’s 1.4/2 and 2.32 million viewers finished fifth.
8 p.m. – CBS’ “The Defenders” won the 8 p.m. hour overall with 8.65 million viewers in its Friday premiere, producing a bigger audience than “Medium” was earning, but not shining with young viewers, where it generated only a 1.3 rating among adults 18-49. The premiere of NBC’s “Who Do You Think You Are” was second with 7.32 million viewers and tied CBS in the demo. ABC’s “Supernanny” was third overall with 4.16 million viewers. FOX’s “Kitchen Nightmares” averaged 4.015 million viewers in fourth, but won the hour with a 1.7 rating among adults 18-49. On The CW, the return of “Smallville” averaged 2.37 million viewers and a 1.0 demo rating, on the low side in viewers.
9 p.m. – A “Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials” special let CBS win the 9 p.m. hour with 9.55 million viewers and a 2.0 rating in the key demographic. NBC’s “Dateline” was second with 7.96 million viewers and a 1.6 demo rating. ABC’s “Primetime: What Would You Do?” finished third overall with 4.59 million viewers. In its third Friday airing, FOX’s “Fringe” was down only slightly to 4.29 million viewers and also slipped to a 1.6 rating in the key demo. [Note: If you want to get technical, “Fringe” averaged a 1.7 and a 1.6 rating for the two 9 p.m. half-hour blocks, compared to a 1.5 and a 1.7 for “Dateline,” so FOX presumably finished alone in second for hour, at least provisionally.] The CW’s “Supernatural” was fifth with 2.28 million viewers and a 1.0 demo rating.
10 p.m. – “CSI: NY” won the 10 p.m. hour overall with 9.34 million viewers, but finished second with a 1.9 demo rating. NBC’s “Dateline” was a close second overall with 9.25 million viewers and won the hour with a 2.1 demo rating. ABC’s Barbara Walters special was third with 6.2 million viewers and a 1.1 demo rating.
All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change.